The former CEO of Nissan Carlos Ghosn, who was set to face charges in Japan in 2020 for financial wrongdoing has mysteriously fled the country, reportedly by hiding in a box used to transport musical instruments.
Despite the fact, he was under scrutiny by Japanese officials, and with his passports confiscated, the former high-flying businessman managed to evade authorities and landed in Lebanon on a private jet from Turkey late Monday, Dec 30.
Ghosn who has maintained his innocence said in a statement, “I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan’s legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold,” Ghosn said. He then added, “I have not fled justice—I have escaped injustice and political persecution.” He continued,“I can now finally communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week.”
Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka in Japan learned of his client’s escape from news reports. He holds all three of Ghosn’s passports, which were surrendered under terms of bail. “It would have been difficult for him to do this without the assistance of some large organization,” Hironaka said at a news conference. “I want to ask him, ‘How could he do this to us?’”
According to BBC News, MTV Lebanese from Lebanon reported Ghosn had slipped out of his Tokyo home by hiding in a musical instrument box, after a band performed at his house, with paramilitary members disguised as band members aiding in his escape. MTV reported he was flown to Turkey, then on to Lebanon in a private jet.
Ghosn is a citizen of Lebanon, where he is protected from extradition. He is also a citizen of France and Brazil. He was barred from traveling overseas since his arrest for financial-misconduct charges in 2018 and had been in and out of jail since.
He is attributed with creating the world’s largest carmaker, after resurrecting Nissan and the French carmaker Renault, to then later include Japan’s Mitsubishi. The three companies sold 10.6 million cars in 2017.
Ghosn is considered by many in Lebanon a national hero, “He’s back now, and he’ll be celebrated,” said one senior official. “There’s a lot of admiration for what he’s done in business.”
Japanese authorities accused the former Nissan executive of improperly reporting his income and shifting personal financial losses to the Japanese carmaker. He had been in and out of jail since his first arrest in November 2018. Prosecutors had accused him of underreporting his compensation to the Japanese government, having declared only half of about $88 million that he received between 2011 and 2015.